Leonardo for EXPO set to reach tens of thousands of young viewers at Children's Park in Milan

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© UNESCO

UNESCO and FAO have collaborated to produce the ‘Leonardo for EXPO’ cartoons, currently on display at EXPO Milan as part of the United Nations multimedia installations and in the EXPO Children’s Park. Over the next months, kids from around the world – an estimated 200,000 – will be immersed in an environment that combines nature and imagination, exploring the complex subjects of life on Earth and sustainability in a stimulating and fun way.

Building on the international success of the ‘Leonardo’ series, 13 new episodes starring a young Leonardo da Vinci and his inseparable group of friends were produced exclusively for EXPO 2015. The multimedia content was developed by RAI Fiction and Gruppo Alcuni under the scientific supervision of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), and in cooperation with FAO. Each episode deals with a topical theme, from nutrition to the sourcing of local and seasonal ingredients, food waste and renewable energy sources. Throughout the series, Leonardo relies on his inventions to solve problems and help those around him.

The Children’s Park at EXPO Milano 2015 is an area dedicated to exploring the EXPO theme, where children between the ages of 4 and 10 can enjoy activities and educational games, but also relax; the concept is titled “Ring around the planet, Ring around the future”, symbolizing the gesture of hugging the planet. It is an ideal place for the ‘Leonardo for EXPO’ cartoons to present topics  like food, water, renewable energy, sustainable cities, ecological footprint, cooperation and solidarity.  

Young viewers of the ‘Leonardo for EXPO’ series are introduced to important themes in an accessible, fun format that is easy to understand. Leonardo, Gioconda and their friends embark on adventures around the Italian countryside, making exciting new discoveries that bring them face to face with some of the issues that are at the heart of the sustainability debate.

Sustainable resource management, for example, is at the heart of  “The upside down umbrella” episode, in which the Leonardo surveys the fields surrounding his hometown, Vinci, from an improvised flying device. Shocked at the sight of the arid countryside, blighted by drought, he solves the problem by devising an ingenious irrigation method, which uses available water resources to their full potential. 

“The cooking contest” episode, meanwhile, focuses on food waste. Leonardo has a real challenge on his hands: with his friends, Gioconda and Lorenzo, he has to prepare a banquet using only leftovers. Their rivals have discarded a huge amount of good food, but our three heroes find a way to use what is left creatively and intelligently, without letting anything go to waste.

A third episode, “The Solar-Powered Oven”, takes on the subject of renewable energy. As Leonardo watches a lizard – a cold blooded animal – warming itself in the sun, he comes up with a plan to harness the sun’s rays to power a “solar-powered oven”, a cooking method which frees the cook from the constraints of using wood and fire.

The ‘Leonardo EXPO’ episodes are also on display at the Parco degli Alberi Parlanti in Treviso, where children will get the chance to visit Leonardo’s treehouse, and take part in a series of challenges to test their knowledge of food and where it comes from.

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As well as contributing to the United Nations’ participation in Milan, “The Zero Hunger Challenge – United for a Sustainable World”, UNESCO is taking part in the Venice to EXPO 2015 initiative with a broad programme of events in and around Venice and in UNESCO sites and territories throughout Italy.

UNESCO’s contribution to EXPO 2015 was made possible by the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy).